Several months ago, I asked myself this question: Should I use my personal name for my design portfolio, or come up with a new “company-style” name?
I had been using BradyMower.com for my portfolio, but I didn’t want to indefinitely, so I decided it was time to change it. At least, I thought it was.
I wasn’t sure of the benefits of doing so, or the benefits of using a more “company-style” name. I did some research and came across these helpful resources:
First, there was this question on Quora: What are some good suggestions for naming for my portfolio website?
Most of the advice there tended towards using your own personal name. The two biggest reason for that were:
#1 – People get to know you by your name, and can Google that name directly.
#2 – You don’t have to focus on more than one thing. You don’t have your own personal website to focus on as well as a separate portfolio website.
Those are good reasons, really they are. But for me, those reasons didn’t hold enough water.
#1 – I didn’t want my name to always be associated with just design. I’m not planning to be a designer forever, so when the time comes that I stop designing and wordpressing full time, I can more easily transition to something else. With a separate site, I can have a client-focused home page.
#2 – For me, its not too difficult to manage two separate sites. Just a few hours to set up the new site, then all the time I spend putting together my portfolio is time I would have spend putting the same portfolio on my personal site, so its equal. And as far as promoting both sites goes, I don’t plan to promote BradyMower.com, I don’t need to, so that is not an issue for me.
Smashing Magazine has a good post about setting up a portfolio, and after reading it, I can see that most of those things would be easier if I used a name that is not my own name.
So as I recently wrote about here, I launched GrayFinch.com as the website specifically for my design and WordPress work.
Yet, after spending some time on it, I’m starting to question my decision. I’m thinking that perhaps it might be best to use BradyMower.com instead. Why? Well, I’m thinking that I can focus on what I’m doing at the time (for now its design) and then when I make a switch – to iPhone apps, or a startup, or UI design instead of WordPress – I can just make a small adjustment to the site and feature my new type of work.
I read this post, and it basically says: “Use your own name!”
And maybe what I would do is use something like: BradyMower.com/design. That way, I have a specific page to direct them to and I can tailor that page specifically to landing new clients, to my portfolio, and to my design and WordPress work.
Two things I’m really curious about are:
1. Would I be more likely to get larger clients with a “company-like” name? And would using my personal name lend itself more to landing smaller clients?
2. What about SEO? Which strategy would lead to more organic traffic? I’m considering things like keywords, site structure, a Google Places page, etc. And what about my blog? I’d still like to write a blog on BradyMower.com, but if I used BradyMower.com for my portfolio and work, would a blog about anything and everything be beneficial or harmful for my work?
At the end of the day, there are benefits of both strategies, but I wonder if I’m on the right path with my considerations . . .